Canadian ‘Cross Nationals Pre-Ride

Cool and blowy day definitely reminded me why Canadian cyclo-cross nationals are held so early in the season…

Rolled over to the course in the late afternoon to get in a few laps and get a sense of the course. I have pretty firm rules/boundaries for my pre-ride days: four laps – nothing more as tempting as it is to keep riding, check out the course first in the small ring – just roll around and get a sense for it, practice the “key” or “challenging” sections a few times, one lap in the big ring – to get a sense of how things feel with a bit of speed. That’s it. That’s all I do. So today, that is what I did.

My feeling is that the course was getting rather icy as more and more people rode it so tomorrow it will be even more slick and things will have changed by 2 p.m. I stuck to my rules to the point where I didn’t even ride the metal fly-over. I watched a few people hit it. Tomorrow during my race pre-ride, I’ll be sure to get in the fly-over a few times to get comfortable with my gearing for it and the feeling of speed descending it.

The race course itself has a mix of everything (except single track). Pretty similar to last year. Most of the key sections are in the “bowl” with some fun corners, tight drops into steep climbs, and some faster descents. Pretty cool really. There is a nice long road section. A quick run through a sandbox. More longish grassy/snowy sections, turns, twists. Don’t know if there will be any barriers (weren’t any out today…).

So all in all, a pretty good course. Looking forward to watching the Masters race it tomorrow and hearing from Marc what he thinks of it at race pace. I find that during pre-ride you can hit things with some speed but really it is nothing like the speed you’ll be taking during the race nor do you have the “race brain” happening during pre-ride…

Got the numbers all pinned up. Lucky number 41. I wistfully looked at my short sleeve skinsuit, but it is not to be. Looks like it will be long sleeve skinsuit, leg warmers, cap, and I’m undecided – sleeveless base layer or one with sleeves? (This will be a race day decision.)

As for tires? Well, I tested out the whie pippis today. They are nice but not so helpful with the ice. So looks like they’ll be a no go for tomorrow. Again, we’ll have to wait and see what happens to the course as more people ride it and depending on if the sun comes out.

Marc is racing at 10 so I’ll head over to Argyll Park for his race. Then back to the hotel for a bit. Then back at noon to do some pre-race pre-ride/warm-up laps. Then into the clubhouse to get warm and changed. Then I’ll get back out to roll around, keep the legs loose and figure out what I’m going to wear during the race as well as make a decision on tires and pressure.

Looking forward to it. Racing is the fun part. Makes all the training and travel worth it. Thanks for the emails and messages of support. I’m feeling good. Rested. Confident. Looking forward to a solid ride. I’ll post up a race report and day report tomorrow night.

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